INTERNATIONAL Day of Older Persons is a special time for residents at Mercy Place Mandurah.
The aged care home celebrated its seniors and the contributions they have made to their communities while at the same time asking a number of residents to take a trip down memory lane and talk about their interesting lives.
One willing resident is 89-year old Richard Heraty, born in Glasgow in 1930.
Mr Heraty left school at 14 and started an industrial electrical apprenticeship that he completed in 1951.
Soon after he was called up for National Service where he spent two years mainly in Egypt, living in a tent and helping protect the Suez Canal.
On his return to Glasgow, he met his first wife Nancy at a dance.
They were married in 1955 before he accepted a job at South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean for 16 months.
“The journey was by sea and our first stop was in Holland for a week,’’ he said.
“We travelled on a tanker which refuelled at Teneriffe before arriving at South Georgia Island, 900 miles from Antarctica.
“My duties were to repair the small whale catching boats that were in the harbour for the off-season and then travel out to sea on the factory ships when the season opened again.”
In 1962, Mr Heraty and his family decided to move to Australia and travelled on the Canberra for 19 days.
“Our son had his first birthday on the ship, he had learned to walk before we set sail but lost the ability to do so while on the ship which meant he didn’t walk again until he was on solid soil,’’ he said.
Mercy Place service manager Christina Venables said International Day of Older Persons presented a perfect opportunity to recognise seniors like Mr Heraty.
She said he and others had in many cases served their country and dedicated a great deal of time to the community.